Statistics show that, in the months of June-August 2020, areas in the north of England had the highest level of competition for jobs whilst areas such as Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol had some of the lowest levels. Despite this, HRreview asks – in a world of remote working, does location truly matter when applying for a job?

New research by employment search engine site Indeed shows that, between the months of June-August 2020, areas in the north of England and Scotland generally had the highest number of people competing for jobs.

On average, Middlesbrough was most competitive town with an average of 3.3 local CVs per job posting. This was swiftly followed by Sunderland (2.6 local CVs per job posting) and Luton with 2.1. Areas in Scotland also ranked highly with Dundee and Aberdeen having 2.0 and 1.9 local CVs per job posting respectively.

Conversely, generally areas in the south of England fared better. The least competitive place to find a job in the UK was Cambridge which only had 0.4 local CVs per job posting. Oxford was only marginally higher with its figures standing at 0.6. Exeter and Reading both were ranked as having a low level of competition for jobs at 0.7 CVs per job posting. The capital city London ranked sixth lowest in terms of competition with only 0.9 local CVs per job posting.

Following a similar trend, cities aforementioned such as Aberdeen and Luton saw the largest increase in competition for jobs. Aberdeen saw a 1.52 per cent rise whilst Luton saw a 1.36 per cent rise. Again, recording the least increase in competition for jobs was Cambridge at 0.26 per cent and Oxford at 0.4.

However, with the rise of working from home (ONS statistics showed that almost half – 46.6 per cent – of the UK workforce worked from home in April 2020), especially following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent statement to ‘work at home if you can’, it appears that remote working offers new opportunities for job prospects.

Dependent on sector, people are no longer necessarily limited to their regional area in their job hunt. In London, an area which research has shown is less competitive for job-hunters, one in two employees work from home – allowing the possibility of a job in London being able to be completed from anywhere in the UK. ONS statistics reveal that the occupations which are most likely to work from home include financial and HR managers and directors, actuaries, economists and financial analysts and advisers.

With REC reporting a surge in hiring confidence over June-August 2020, applying to remote jobs around the UK where possible may ultimately be the key to providing the most yielding results for those job hunting, no matter where they live.


*Indeed obtained these results by calculating CVs per job posting in 63 of the UK’s largest cities and towns by dividing the number of CVs uploaded or updated on Indeed between 1st June and 31st August by the number of job postings available at some point during that period in each locality.

*ONS statistics have been obtained from the Office for National Statistics report ‘Coronavirus and homeworking in the UK: April 2020’.

*The REC report was produced in partnership with Savanta ComRes. Savanta ComRes interviewed 600 UK employers involved in hiring by telephone between 2 June and 25 August 2020.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.